1168 Impact of mental illness on productivity of the mobile workforce as the worker profile transitions from baby boomer to millennial

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Abstract

Introduction

The International Corporate Health Leadership Council (ichlc.org) is a non-profit foundation comprised of medical directors of global corporations representing virtually all industry sectors. The Council reviews the latest health trends relevant to global enterprise and provides key recommendations so appropriate standards are benchmarked and best practices identified. One such recent trend is the increase, to epidemic proportions, of mental illness within the mobile workforce (business travellers, expatriates, local nationals).The Council sought to examine the extent of this global epidemic and determine what, if any, processes/practices had been implemented by international organisations to mitigate against mental illness negatively impacting the worker and/or company productivity.

Methods

The Council surveyed 344 international organisations representing more than 2.5 million workers in multiple industry sectors.

Results

All organisations noted a transition in the profile of their mobile employee from baby boomer to millennial, with 21-percent of their mobile workforce considered ‘millennial’. Thirteen percent acknowledged that mental illness, within their mobile workforce, was impacting assignments and/or productivity. Thirty percent admitted to having a process to identify ‘at-risk’ personnel. Forty-nine percent described the provision of traditional and non-traditional support services to employees to mitigate the impact of mental illness in the workplace.

Discussion

Mental health issues endemic to millennials span a wide spectrum from ‘unseen’ stress that reduces well-being and work satisfaction to presenteeism and poor performance, to workplace incidents and, in the extreme, to disruption and suicide. Organisations are struggling to find the best strategies to engage personnel early without breaking confidentiality. Stigma associated with mental illness remains very significant in many countries/cultures so a unidimensional solution will not suffice. Health ‘coaches’ have been useful in mitigating against stigma and allowing consultations across borders. Telehealth is an important tool that allows rapid access to a counsellor, when one is not available locally.

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